Allardyce – Nerves played a part in draw

Sam Allardyce blamed nerves for Sunderland’s below-par performance at Stoke and was relieved to come away with a draw.

Sunderland: Allardyce - Nerves played a part in drawSunderland: Allardyce - Nerves played a part in draw

The Black Cats looked set to suffer a hugely costly defeat in their battle against relegation after Marko Arnautovic put the hosts ahead in the 50th minute.

Sunderland offered little but Jermain Defoe won an injury-time penalty when he went down under Geoff Cameron’s challenge and the striker confidently dispatched his 14th Premier League goal of the season.

The 1-1 draw was not enough to keep Sunderland out of the bottom three with Newcastle winning, but it could yet prove crucial.

Allardyce said: “I was happy to accept a point today, that’s a point gained rather than two points lost. Our performance wasn’t the best. We accept that.

“We looked a little bit nervous, more than we’ve ever done before. Maybe the lads were feeling the pressure a little bit today and that caused us to give far too many easy balls away.”

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